“I always aspired to be a professional sportsman. I soon realised there are easier ways to earn a living though”
Describe yourself in three words.
Fun, ambitious, competitive.
What’s your biggest professional achievement?
I became managing director before I was 40 and am still developing and enjoying the challenges it brings.
How did you get to where you are today?
By being honest to myself about my limitations and not being afraid to ask for help from my team.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Up at 6am to feed the animals at home (two dogs, three horses, six chickens and four cats), then the hour commute to the office. In the office for 8:30am and various internal meetings and discussions with the team. Lunch time I like to go for a run in the local woods and then catch up with emails before the US comes online. I usually have conference calls with them during my afternoons.
What have been the highlights of your company’s history, in your opinion?
Kalsec coming to Europe just over 20 years ago. More broadly, the UK Flavour Association is celebrating its centenary this year and we have therefore been reflecting on the achievements of the entire industry. It’s fascinating to look back on some of the groundbreaking advances in flavour development that have been achieved in the UK, including the advent and development of spray drying, the identification and synthesis of delta-lactones – which revolutionised the creation of dairy flavours – the recent advances in sensory science and the discovery of countless flavour compounds, as well as the creation of clear and robust flavour regulations that have enabled the industry to flourish.
Give us a positive prediction for the food industry over the next 12 months.
I predict that the quality, value and variety of foods available to consumers will only continue to grow. The flavour industry has a key role to play in enabling food manufacturers to offer ever more exciting and exotic dishes to consumers, but also in broadening the use of dwindling or unstable resources.
Who do you most admire?
Sporting leaders like Sir Clive Woodward and Sir David Brailsford. They have taken sports that typically weren’t successful on the world stage and broken down why that was and rebuilt them with a formula for success.
Which people/organisations or companies are the ones to watch right now?
I am particularly excited to see how the worlds of tech and food and flavour manufacturing will come together more in future. Organisations like Foodpairing are moving the goalposts. Their food tech platform and model uses algorithms to create recipes based on ingredient pairings which are created using aroma data identified via GC-MS. While us flavour experts know what level of skill goes into creating flavourings, it’s an interesting approach currently aimed at chefs and bartenders, but one that may well translate into industrial food and flavour development in some form.
Which words do you most overuse?
No, to my son.
If you weren’t in your current position, what else might you be doing?
I always aspired to be a professional sportsman and compete horses for a living. I soon realised there are easier ways to earn a living though.
Tell us something about yourself that few people know.
I love competing my horse in Eventing – we aren’t very successful, but there is no better feeling than that of a partnership with a horse you have trained yourself and built a bond with.
What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?
Slightly shorter commute and more time with my family (and horses).
How do you relax?
By training and being around my horses and having fun with the family. I do enjoy the solitude and mindfulness of running as well.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a fair but driven leader who is continually looking to be better one day from the next.